U.S. Development Agency Says Famine Conditions Prevalent In Gaza Strip

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Gaza Strip
U.S. Development Agency Says Famine Conditions Prevalent In Gaza Strip

 head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) believes that famine is already occurring in parts of the Gaza Strip.

At a hearing in the U.S. Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Power was asked whether this assessment was particularly true for the north of the sealed-off coastal area. She answered “yes.”

According to the U.S. media, this makes Power the first U.S. government representative to have publicly confirm this assessment.

The official classification as a famine means that at least 20 per cent of the population is affected by extreme food shortages.

In addition, at least one in three children suffers from acute malnutrition.

Although the declaration of a famine does not trigger a formal international response, it is regarded as the biggest alarm signal for the imminent death of tens of thousands of people.

Earlier in the hearing, Power had been asked about media reports from early April that USAID had shared a warning to this effect with various US government agencies.

Power explained that this warning was based on the so-called Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The IPC initiative has a multi-stage system for assessing how many people are affected by hunger and to what extent, and is used by the United Nations.

According to IPC data from March 18, at that time a famine was already imminent.

It was expected to occur in the north of the Gaza Strip between mid-March and May.

“We believe this assessment is credible,” said Power.

She emphasised that the current aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip were not enough “to prevent the famine that is threatening in the south and the conditions that are already leading to increased child deaths in the north.”

The Gaza war was triggered by coordinated attacks by Palestinian militants on southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, in which around 1,200 people were killed.

Since then, Israel has conducted a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip, where one of its stated goals is to “destroy” the governing organisation, Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israel has been heavily criticised internationally for the massive civilian casualty toll and catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government said last week that it would increase humanitarian aid for the population there.

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